I’m always impressed with the wealth of really stellar programming that Noah and I can enjoy at so many New York City museums.

We’ve done“First Saturdays” at the New Museum (site of THIS memorable exhibit – remember the nude sensory tank?). And we recently participated in a special kids’ day at the Whitney, which coincided with their “Sinister Pop” exhibit.

But I’m particularly fond of No Longer Empty – where artists actually draw inspiration from the building they (temporarily) take over.

You may recall one of my “Thursdays with Noah” excursions, at an abandoned retirement home in the Bronx. This was our first encounter with No Longer Empty and we LOVED it. I promptly put myself on the mailing list for future events.

And if you live in the New York area, I suggest you do too.

No Longer Empty goes into abandoned locations and creates temporary, site-specific art installations. The exhibits are completely inspired by the spaces they inhabit, and there is extensive outreach to the local community, in order to create an engaging experience for those who come to visit.

The exhibits are free and always include great children’s programming.

In other words, a unique and interactive art experience that is as far from a “hands-off” museum trip as you can get.

In the case of this show – “How Much Do I Owe You” – the location was a 1927 bank in Long Island City, Queens. The show explored the relationships between people, commerce and money, and used almost every room and surface in the bank to display the artists’ works (you can read more about the exhibit, as well as each of the artists’ installations on the NLE website).

no longer empty

no longer empty

Noah was hesitant at first, as he knows to use his “inside voice” and “walking feet” when we go into a building. But he soon realized that this was a special occasion and began running around and exploring all of the floors of the bank.

He loved the vault (“look! A circle door Mommy!”), as well as the piggy banks and “butterflies”.

no longer empty

no longer empty

no longer empty

We sat at a long desk and “made” our own money, which we then hung up on a wall (Noah insisted on climbing to the very top of the sliding ladder to hang his – hence, no picture as I was clinging for life to both of us).

no longer empty

As in the last NLE exhibit, the staff members were incredibly nice (message to Naomi: Noah says “Hi!), spending time speaking directly to Noah and walking us around.  Ironically, after telling Noah “don’t touch” one of the installations, it was Naomi who told us that the artist actually wants people to touch, add to, or even take the money on the plates.

no longer empty

My boy was just thrilled to re-arrange the money (I was thrilled that the plates were plastic).

no longer empty

“What Do I Owe You” has now closed (we got in at the next to last day ourselves), but you can connect with NLE on Facebook or Twitter, and sign up to find out where the next  exhibit will be.

Maybe we’ll see you there!

no longer empty

What do you expect? He’s four.


  1. Jesse on March 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    What fun! That is what I love about living in this area. Incredible events and programs for the kids. Taking my older son and his girlfriend (gulp) down to the city tomorrow for some shopping and museum hopping. Your posts are such a fabulous guide for exploring the area for us newishcomers 🙂

    • sherisilver on March 22, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks Jesse! Have fun tomorrow! xo

  2. Melanie on March 22, 2013 at 11:52 pm

    Ha! I love that last photo of Noah. This looks cool.

    • sherisilver on March 23, 2013 at 7:50 am

      🙂 It was pretty awesome!

  3. Ellen Monheit on March 24, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    What a wonderful program!
    You’re lucky to have this available in your area, and to enjoy and share it with your 4 year old.
    Loved the post and pictures. Thank you.

    • sherisilver on March 24, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      Thanks Ellen – we feel so lucky too! 🙂

  4. Zoe Denahy on March 25, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Very Cool!

    • sherisilver on March 25, 2013 at 9:50 am

      This is SO your thing Zoe – get on their list!

Leave a Comment